December 8, 2022

How to understand that you have chosen a bad surf school

Yesterday, when I was skating, a group of three beginners with a local Moroccan instructor swam out to the spot. Well, or rather, I saw the beginners on the software right away, but in order to figure out who they were with, I had to work hard, because he didn’t follow them at all, he rode himself, joked jokes, sang songs …

I looked at him and thought : “Dude, you seem to believe that the job of a surf instructor is to show with your whole appearance that surfing is cool. Actually, no.”

Then I saw that one of his students swam into the canal, she was pretty blown away, as a result she tries to catch the wave in the wrong place at all and runs the risk of falling into the stones. Taught by similar situations in Bali, I swim up to the “instructor”, I’m not going to make any scandals, I’ll just quietly hint to him that it would be nice to return the girl to the lineup.

Just in case, I ask: “Are these your students?”. He answers: “Yes,” but somehow his face begins to change. I begin to tell him that his girl was carried away by the current, but the place of his smile was already taken by an evil grimace, he almost spat out in my direction that he did not speak English and swam away. This put me a little into a stupor, especially since he definitely speaks English – I heard that his students are Russian, and I give a tooth not in French, he teaches them lessons.

Dude, you seem to think that the job of a surf instructor is to show that surfing is cool. Actually, no.
Then, of course, I freaked out. It made me so uncomfortable because of him that I didn’t even think that I should swim to the girl and explain to her that she had got to the wrong place, and where it would be better for her to move. By that time I had already rolled, so I just went ashore with the next wave.

And today I witnessed another situation, the same in its essence. A storm has come, a strong wind has been blowing all day, it is about to start raining. I went to the store for vegetables, and walking past the beach I saw another group of students, with another instructor, walking towards the ocean. Of course, they go to the foam, because there is no line-up on this day in principle – because of the wind in the ocean, porridge. But to carry out foam in such conditions is the last thing. One girl is barely dragging her softtop, losing to the wind ripping the board out of her hands. Why do they go to the ocean? Who decided that these conditions are suitable for the lesson? Most likely the one who receives money for this lesson.

And then I thought. I drown for the quality of education, I recommend schools and camps very selectively, I always see the difference, whether they teach well or not, suitable conditions or not. But for people without experience, how to determine this? In such situations, I can’t turn my tongue to come up and say: “Your instructor is shit.” I’m just sad that they were unlucky. We, experienced surfers and honest instructors, are trying to give clues. That, for example, a good school will return your money, but will not hold a lesson in inappropriate conditions. But how does a beginner determine that he was taken to a lesson in inappropriate conditions?

I see only one answer here: trust your feelings. If you think that something is wrong, then most likely you do not think so. If the wind is too strong or the waves look intimidating, trust your feelings and not just the instructor’s words. In the case of big waves, a good one would rather ask how you feel and whether you are ready to expand your comfort zone than say: “Well, you invent everything, everything is fine, let’s go.”

If you think that something is wrong, then most likely you do not think so.
If it seems to you that the instructor rides himself and doesn’t really follow you, most likely it doesn’t seem to you. When the instructor is watching, you feel his presence and attention. And if you don’t feel it, it probably doesn’t exist.

I think that not only in surfing, but in life in general, we are conditioned to question our feelings. Though feelings are facts. When you feel bad, and someone says: it seems to you that this is actually good – this is a lie. Because you feel bad – that’s a fact. Yes, maybe you chose a school at random and ended up in not the best one. An unpleasant experience, but don’t make it worse with self-deception. When you have no experience in something, and with your brains you cannot give an adequate assessment of what is happening, trust your feelings. In the case of surfing, they should be enjoyable.